Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tuesday Morning

US stocks are trading flat this morning, ahead of a Fed meeting at which they will be expected to leave rates unchanged. Any change to the Fed's language of leaving rates unchanged "for an extended period" could lead to some volatility. Overseas markets are mostly higher, on news that a Greek bailout is close.

According to Census.gov, Housing starts of 575,000 in February were in line with economists expectations. January was revised higher. Not a bad showing considering inclement weather in much of the country.

Euro member states have agreed to back an "emergency financial support facility" to assist Greece, something that has not been done before in this monetary union.

Incredibly, lawmakers didn't think the stimulus bill was enough of a handout to state employees, and are crafting a new "jobs bill." Comments from Max Baucus, who is likely unaware that the current stimulus is only 36% spent.
“We need to help people get jobs,” Senator Max Baucus, the Montana Democrat who is chairman of the Finance Committee, said. “We need to do more to help businesses to hire more workers.

An avalanche of junk bonds will need to be rolled over in the next few years, and many worry it will be too much for debt markets to swallow. (yest)

Air Berlin has reduced their Boeing 787 orders from 25 to 15, for a total hit of $1.7billion.

Upgrades and downgrades:

--Starbucks (SBUX) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS
--Clorox (CLX) upgraded to Overweight from Equal-weight at Barclays
--Boston Scientific (BSX) cut to Sell from Neutral at Goldman Sachs
--Cheesecake Factory (CAKE) cut to Underweight form Neutral at Piper Jaffray
--Kimberly Clark (KMB) added to the Conviction Sell list at Goldman Sachs
--Western Union (WU) started with a Positive rating at Susqeuhanna
--Cooper Tire &Rubber (CTB) started with a Overweight at Morgan Stanley. Also starts Goodyear (GT) at Underweight

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